Broadway on Broadway is a fun little kickoff party for the new Broadway season, right? Given the festive atmosphere — and the bloody amazing weather — we were inspired to ask the performers one question: What was the first Broadway show they ever saw?
Their answers were so great — and so firmly anchored each of them as a part of a particular moment in Broadway’s history. (Of course, Anthony Warlow is Australian, so we had to work at little harder for that answer…) Here’s what they told us…
Chita Rivera: The Vamp. I was in ballet school and I wanted to join the New York City Ballet. I went, “This is it?”
Nick Wyman: It was I Never Sang for My Father with Hal Holbrook. I was with a high school group that came in from New Jersey and we sat way up in the nosebleed seats. I was agog.
Steve Kazee: My first Broadway show was the original company of Rent of ’96 or ’97. I fell in love immediately. I was so head-over-heels for the show. I didn’t realize that that was what Broadway could be, you know? It was amazing to me, and opened up a whole new world for me. I waited for Adam and Anthony after the show to stage door.
L: What did you say to them?
Steve Kazee: I don’t even remember, but I was so excited to meet them and get them to sign autographs for me. I still have those.
L: Have you spent a lot of time in New York, and have you seen a lot of Broadway shows?
Anthony Warlow: I’ve visited the city about five times in my life, not for very long each time. And it was mainly to see shows, and to see what we could promote back in Australia. My good friend John Frost is a producer and we’d tend to come over here and look for a vehicle for me to do, and to look for what John could bring to Australia. And he’s given us things like Wicked and Phantom.
What’s the first show you ever saw that made the biggest impact on you?
Anthony Warlow: Golly, you know. It’s hard to know, and I’ll tell you why it’s hard to know. I’ve been very blessed in my country, and I’ve been working constantly. So it’s only Monday nights when you don’t have a show. But I saw Michael Blakemore’s production of Kiss Me Kate a number of years ago, which I thought was fantastic. And I saw the most recent Follies. In fact, I was asked to do that production with Bernadette Peters. I was asked to play Ben, but I was doing Dr. Zhivago and couldn’t get away.
Reeve Carney: Cats! Right over here at the Winter Garden. I saw it four times, between the ages of four and eight. It’s still a big inspiration and influence on my life.
Tommy Bracco: It was Beauty and the Beast. Apparently I couldn’t stay in the seat because I was so excited. I must have been about four or five. My parents were so embarrassed, they tell me.
Ryan Steele: Movin’ Out. I was like, 12. And I grew up only dancing, so that was like heaven for me. Elizabeth Parkinson… John Selya… It was insane.
Corey Cott: Wicked!
Ryan Breslin: Wicked. But we only saw half of it. We were flying in from Georgia, and our flight was delayed for like eight hours. So we missed all the way up to “Popular.” But everybody loved it. People were crying by the end of the first act. When you’re in high school and Wicked opens on Broadway, even half of it is amazing. The first whole musical I saw was Movin’ Out.